General Information and Frequently Asked Questions

COVID-19 and Australian visas

For the latest news on travel restrictions and other updates go to the Department of Home Affairs website.

 

If English is not your first language

SBS have put together coronavirus information in 63 different languages.

General Information for Skilled Migration visa holders

For information on specific visa programs go to the Department of Home Affairs website.

Where is the Central West?

Located in the heart of NSW the Central West region is an easy drive from Sydney and Canberra, and well serviced by regional rail networks and regional airports.  The region covers an area of 63,000 square kilometres, extending from Lithgow in the east to Lake Cargelligo in the west.  The area is home to more than 180,000 people within the 11 local government areas (LGAs) of Bathurst, Blayney, Cabonne, Cowra, Forbes, Lachlan, Lithgow, Oberon, Orange, Parkes and Weddin.

 

Orange and Bathurst are the largest cities within the region and are supported by the growing centres of Lithgow, Parkes and Forbes.

 

The Central West is rich in natural resources and business opportunities, and one of the fastest growing areas in regional NSW.  The main businesses by industry are:

  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing
  • Construction
  • Rental, Hiring and Real Estate Services
  • Professional, Scientific and Technical Services
  • Retail Trade

Central West Postcodes

The Central West region is made up 11 local Government areas (LGAs) and it is simple to check online if a town or postcode is within one of these LGAs.

 

Bathurst City Council

Blayney Shire Council

Cabonne Council

Cowra Council

Forbes Shire Council

Lachlan Shire Council

Lithgow City Council

Oberon Council

Orange City Council

Parkes Shire Council

Weddin Shire Council

Moving to the Central West – 489 visa holders

  • You must inform the RDA Central West Skilled Migration team when your visa is granted by email and attach a copy of the visa grant notification.

 

Email: migration@rdacentralwest.org.au

 

  • As part of your application for NSW State nomination through RDA Central West, you sign a declaration agreeing that you will relocate to the Central West region. RDA Central West expects you to meet your obligations to live in the Central West region for at least two years following the visa grant. RDA Central West expects 489 visa holders to relocate within 90 days of your visa grant and to make a genuine effort to meet your obligations to live and work in the Central West region.

 

  • As part of the ongoing obligations RDA Central West is required to maintain long term contact with our visa applicants regarding visa status, and relocation and working in the Central West. We do this through a series of periodical surveys and it is mandatory that you complete these when received.

Driving in NSW

The Central West region of NSW is a large area with varying degrees of population density.  Public transport exists in most of the larger centres but often at a level that may not meet all requirements.  It is likely that newcomers to the region will want to acquire a vehicle at some point, if they do not already have a licence and vehicle organised.

 

Information about driving licences, eligibility and requirements can be found on the Transport for NSW website. There are differences between the road rules in Australia and other countries.  There can also be difference in the rules between States and Territories in Australia.  Transport for NSW has information about these differences and RDA Central West encourages all newcomers to access practical and helpful sources of information.

Renting

Rental properties can be found on real estate websites, such as https://www.realestate.com.au and https://www.domain.com.au, and in local papers.  You may be required to show proof of income and rental history prior to securing a lease.  If you are newly arrived in Australia or the Central West and are having difficulty obtaining a rental property due to a lack of rental history, RDA Central West may be able to provide you with an open letter to agencies.  Contact migration@rdacentralwest.org.au to discuss this further.

 

Real estate agents usually ask for a rental bond as a form of security, and this is lodged with the Rental Bond Board, a government statutory body.  This is generally a minimum of four weeks rent, so the cost should be factored into your financial considerations.

 

It may be preferable to find temporary accommodation to begin with, when arriving in the Central West region.  This can provide greater flexibility to relocate to another part of the region for employment, if necessary.  Being locked into a lease can restrict the area of your job search.

 

It is important that you know your rights and obligations as a renter.  You will find valuable information at www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au and www.tenants.org.au.

Finding a job

RDA Central West has established the Central West Skilled Migration Jobs Board.  Skilled migrants and employers are encouraged to join the Facebook group and connect with each other.  We will also try to share job advertisements in this region which are suitable for our skilled migrants.

 

Australian job search websites such as seek.com.au, indeed.com.au, adzuna.com.au and careerone.com.au are important resources.  It is also worthwhile consulting local employment agencies and the local papers.  Many larger employers and councils advertise vacancies on their websites.  Information on councils in the region can be found on our website.  If your occupation is particularly specialised it could be worthwhile researching local employers and contacting them directly.

 

Many skilled migrants focus on Orange and Bathurst as they are the largest population centres.  However, other towns in the Central West, such as Parkes, Forbes and Cowra offer great lifestyles and employment opportunities.  You can find more information on towns in the region in this document.

How to apply for a job

It is important to submit an application that is professional and up to Australian expectations, if your application is to be taken seriously.  This involves preparing and submitting a well written cover letter, as well as, a CV or resume.  Poor English and grammar, typing or spelling mistakes can reflect poorly on the applicant.

 

Helpful advice on applying for jobs and writing applications can be found on the Central West Skilled Migration Jobs Board.

Know your rights in Australian workplaces

Pay rates and workplace conditions are set by Australian law. All people working in Australia, including those from overseas, have rights and protections at work. These cannot be taken away by contracts or agreements. If you have questions about your pay and conditions while in Australia, you can contact the Fair Work Ombudsman for free information, resources and advice.

 

Visit www.fairwork.gov.au for information for visa holders. This includes information in 41 languages. You can also contact the Fair Work Ombudsman by phone within Australia on 13 13 94 (Translating and Interpreting Service 13 14 50).

 

Your minimum pay rate can come from an award, enterprise agreement or other registered agreement, or the national minimum wage. Employees have to be paid the right pay rate for all hours they work including training, team meetings, opening and closing the business and doing a trial shift.  You can calculate your correct pay and entitlements using the Pay and Conditions Tool at www.fairwork.gov.au/pay

 

More information on employment in Australia is available on the Department of Home Affairs website.

 

You can download a Fact sheet about basic rights of workers in New South Wales here.

This Fact sheet is also available in other languages.

A letter for 489 visa holders to give potential employers

To help potential employers understand the 489 visa, particularly work entitlements, RDA Central West has provided a letter that can be printed and given to employers.

Open letter to employers

Private Health Insurance

Holders of Regional Sponsored Migration Scheme (SC 187), Skilled Work Regional (Provisional) (SC 491) and Skilled Employer Sponsored Regional (Provisional) (SC 494) visas are eligible for Medicare.

 

Holders of the Skilled Regional (Provisional) (SC 489) visas are NOT eligible for Medicare and are financially responsible for any health debts incurred in Australia.  Any treatment you have in a hospital or emergency room will be as a private patient.  For routine medical treatment in Australia, out-of-hospital treatment from a general practitioner is normally the most cost-effective solution.

 

We recommend you take out health insurance to cover any unforeseen medical treatment you might need in Australia.  Insurance can help limit your financial liability.  This is a link to private health funds in Australia.

 

Most health insurance policies do not cover pregnancy or having a baby during the first 12 months of the policy.

 

Some countries have a reciprocal healthcare agreement with Australia. Find out more from the Department of Human Services about reciprocal healthcare agreements.

Enrolling your children in school

Under Australian law schooling becomes compulsory at age of six years.  Most children begin primary school aged between four and a half and five and a half years.  Children must continue their education until 17 years of age, either at school or through some combination of employment and training.

 

The education system in Australia is open to all people and offers opportunities for all age groups and levels of ability.  Help is available for people who suffer disadvantage.

 

There are two main types of schools:

  • Public schools: The Government provides public schools and public schooling.
  • Private schools: These schools are run by other organisations and students pay fees to have a place in these schools. Private school fees vary from school to school.

Visit the NSW Public Schools website to find the best public school to enrol your children in.

 

This website may be useful in locating a private school in your area:

 

Information regarding the Temporary Residents Program and enrolling students can be found at https://www.deinternational.nsw.edu.au/study-options/study-programs/temporary-residents.

 

This table outlines the visa subclasses and enrolment conditions that apply to temporary residents, visitors, permanent residents, New Zealand citizens and Norfolk Island residents who enrol in a NSW government school.

 

Tertiary education in the region is provided through the Charles Sturt University campuses located in Orange and Bathurst, and TAFE NSW sites.

Developing your family’s English-speaking skills

Most workplaces and educational institutions will expect you to be able to speak English.  If you are accompanied by family members who are not confident in speaking English there are English language classes available in the region to assist.

 

Some sites that may be useful are:

https://www.tafewestern.edu.au/future-students/adult-migrant-english-program

http://www.cwl.nsw.gov.au/learn-a-language

https://www.orange.nsw.gov.au/migrant-support

Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS)

The Translating and Interpreting Service (TIS National) is an interpreting service provided by the Department of Home Affairs for people who do not speak English and for agencies and businesses that need to communicate with their non-English speaking clients.

The TIS National immediate phone interpreting service is available 24 hours a day, every day of the year for the cost of a local call for any person or organisation in Australia who needs an interpreter.

Skilled Regional (Provisional) visa (SC 489) holders - If your objective is Permanent Residency, you need to understand the Skilled Regional visa (SC 887)

The Skilled Regional visa (Subclass 887) is a permanent visa for people who have lived and worked in specified areas of regional Australia. 489 visa holders are eligible to apply for this.

 

The requirements include having:

  • lived in a regional Australia/low population growth metropolitan area for at least two years if you were nominated by a State or Territory government
  • lived in a designated area of Australia for at least two years if you were sponsored by an eligible relative
  • worked full time (usually at least 35 hours a week) in a specified regional area for at least a year while you held your eligible visa
  • complied with the conditions attached to your eligible visa or your Bridging visa. You can check these conditions at any time by using the Visa Entitlement Verification Online (VEVO) service.

 

You can meet the work requirement if you worked at least 35 hours a week in one full-time job or in two part-time jobs.  You can include any paid employment or self-employment, and you will need to be able to provide evidence of your employment claims.

 

Visa Condition: 8539 – MUST STAY IN SPECIFIED AREA is noted on the 489 visa grant notices.  This condition means that you must live, work and study only in an area specified as a regional or low-population growth metropolitan area of Australia. The relevant areas applicable to you are the ones specified at the time your visa was granted. You can find the list of regional and low-population growth areas through the ‘When you have this visa’ tab related to your granted visa. You should keep a copy of this information at the time your visa is granted.